Collapsing Bleachers, Grandstands and Tents: An Event Tragedy


In 2012, a country music concert made the news when bleachers that fans were sitting on collapsed and killed several on the ground below. In a golf tournament rock concert that same year, the tent that hosted the VIP party collapsed on partygoers, killing 1 person. More recently in 2013, an Ohio football game was the scene when several high school students were injured after field bleachers collapsed. What are some of the causes of collapses like this, and can they ever really be prevented?

Any time a temporary structure is set up at sports or music venue, the town generally applies for a permit for the installation and erection of that structure. Inspections should occur to ensure that the structure is solidly constructed, and can withstand any weight or height limitations. However, once the inspection is done, a professional inspector is typically not on hand to monitor the activity that goes on inside the tent, or keep tabs on other factors that could cause the structure to fall. Here are some other reasons for collapses:

  • High winds or weather conditions: are you paying attention to what might lie ahead? While many tents can withstand winds up to 90 miles per hour, some winds can shatter aluminum poles that hold up the structure.
  • Extreme weight placed on the structure, such as the bleachers
  • A vehicle or person running into the poles or joists that support the structure

When you are visiting a venue that has large tents and bleachers, you might do better to stay off of those bleachers if they are filling up with too many participants. You might want to avoid any tents in particular if they are swaying in the wind. If you or someone you know has been injured in an accident at a venue due to a collapsed tent or bleachers, there are several factors that come into play when dealing with the legal aspects and inspectors. Utilizing a New York attorney who can best assist you in the process will be your first step.

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Finz & Finz, P.C. is a New York and Long Island personal injury law firm based out of Mineola, NY. It was founded in 1984 and is highly rated, with many honors and awards of excellence.